Every so often I see an homage to Ambrose Bierce’s original Devil’s Dictionary updated for the digital age. Since a dictionary can have many contributors, I’d like to offer some definitions of my own…
Pinwheel: Trying to make colossal failure looking deliberate by making it witty or pretty. See also beachball, fail whale, oh snap.
App: software that gets between you and what you want to accomplish.
To Google Someone: See “peeping Tom” (arc).
Facebook Live: Indecent exposure.
User Generated Content: The wretched refuse of a mass of men leading lives of quiet desperation. Also ridden with plagiarism and misappropriation.
Crypto: The intersection of money laundering and mass speculation.
Scalable: A crime too big to be punished.
Disruptive: Breaking laws so quickly, brazenly, and massively that you get away with it for awhile.
Direct Message: A message meant only for you, the recipient, the platform, the NSA, and any interested advertisers.
Cookie: The bribe offered by would be abductors trying to get you into their van.
Internet Poll: Popularity contest.
Algorithmic Matching: popularity contest.
Internet Famous: Incredibly well known by 15 people for 15 seconds.
Infinite Scroll: what you get when you dip below the bottom of the barrel and just keep going down.
Ad Blocker: Free rider.
Peer-to-Peer: A technologically facilitating interaction between two people that somehow requires thousands of employees and billions of dollars in California.
Kambucha: A fermented beverage lacking alcohol but still useful for hazing or indoctrination. It smells like a gas leak, tastes like a swamp, and flows down the gullet with the consistency of sewage. A serving costs more that US minimum wage and it is de rigeur to offer free in all tech company cafeterias.
Uptime: The casino’s hours.
Two Screening: When you need a distraction from your distraction.
Texting: When you don’t care enough to think.
User: A short circuit between the screen and the chair.
Hacker: The resale shop for your sensitive data after vendors and governments have finished with it.
<noun> Hacking: something that used to have its own gerund but is rebranded so it can be claimed by Silicon Valley. See dieting/body hacking, subleasing/rent hacking, etc.
Silicon Valley: To the twenty first century what Detroit was to the twentieth.
Experienced: An employee who might recognize we have no idea what we’re doing and who will look weird in a company hoodie.
Machine Learning: when you can’t find a use for all the data you stole so you need to ask a computer to help.
Cloud: Nebulous and squishy agglomerations of vapor, full of darkness, turbulence, and occasional bursts of fatal lightning. Also where your data is stored.
Smartphone: A device to which the wearer’s intelligence has been outsourced.
Microsoft: See Apple (10 years ago.)
Apple: See Microsoft (10 years ago.)
Evil Empire: Whatever big tech you are talking to at the moment.
Don’t Be Evil: Do as I say, not as I do.
Ecosystem: Walled garden.
Sharing Economy: Neither shared nor an economy. Simply a class of companies that rents your possessions and labor in return for a pittance.
Content: The inconvenient text or video in the middle of all the beautiful ads. Like a lure for a fish, you don’t even get to keep it.